Six ways to burn more calories during your next workout

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by TomTom®. While I received a free product and compensation, all words and opinions are totally my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support A Lady Goes West.

When it comes to training, whether that be hiking outdoors, hitting the gym or doing a workout in the park, you want to focus on “smart” exercise. Smart exercise means that you monitor how you’re body feels, you take note of your level of exertion, you have a plan for your programming of the day, you use your surroundings to your advantage and you even check in on your heart-rate to make sure that you work at the right level and get the most bang for your training buck.

And the past couple of months, I’ve been relying on a special tool to support my training, in the form of a big orange watch. So many of you have asked me about that bright orange thing on my left arm in many of my Instagram posts lately too, and I think it’s finally time to talk about it!

Wearing my TomTom Adventurer Outdoor watch by A Lady Goes West

Ever since I’ve been wearing the TomTom® Adventurer, a GPS Outdoor Watch, I feel like I’ve been even more inspired to stay as active as I can. (That means extra walks on the trail with Rudy, and he loves that!) The last time I ever monitored my heart-rate, calories burned or exertion levels during a workout was more than a year ago, when I coached and took classes at Orangetheory Fitness. I remember how much harder I would work when I was trying to push into a particular heart-rate training zone, seeing the numbers on the screen. I loved knowing exactly how much I burned during a particular workout.

And lately, I’ve been doing much of the same thing with the TomTom® Adventurer, which makes it so simple to track all of my activities and stats. With the touch of a button, I put the watch into “gym” mode, and the watch tracks my heart-rate, the duration of the workout and the calories burned too. And I can adjust and make real-time changes to pump up my workout or dial it back, which is totally cool. (By the way, it does A WHOLE LOT more than just fitness tracking, which I’ll get to later.)

Because I’ve been a lot more aware of the calories I’ve been burning, I wanted to share some tips on how you can pump up the burn in your own workouts, even if you don’t have a fancy piece of arm candy tracking your every move. (And, please remember that it’s good to burn calories during your workout, but you can also burn them all day long by being a little bit more active with everything that you do.) Here we go …

Six ways to burn more calories during your next workout

Six ways to burn more calories during your next workout by A Lady Goes West

1. Increase the incline, use your arms or take it outside 

If you’re someone who likes to jog, run or walk on the treadmill, try putting the incline up by at least 2 to 5 percent in your next workout, then go for it without holding onto the handrails. Not only will you have to pump your arms harder (I mean it, no holding on!), but you’ll also get a good toning workout for your backside. If you’re more of an elliptical gal or guy, then make sure you are fully using your arms on the machine at all times, with a push and pull motion. When you do extra arm work, I’d guess you’re burning about 20 to 30 percent more calories. True story! And another way to up your calorie burn is to move your walk and jog from the gym to the outdoors, so that you have to fight elevation, uneven terrain and elements to make your body work a little harder.

2. Add a cardio burst move between weights circuits

Next time you are doing a little dumbbell circuit in your home gym or at a gym, in between the sets, try adding a cardio move to increase your calorie burn and up your heart-rate. While I happen to love doing kettle-bell swings within my weightlifting sets, jump squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers and even running in place will do. You don’t have to go crazy, but that extra little 45 second burst of cardio will rev your engine and make you a calorie-burning machine. In fact, you can use the cardio burst as a rest for your muscles, so that you can keep a continuous flow in your workout without a break between lifting moves. More work = more calories burned. The other day I was at the gym, and I used my TomTom® watch in the workout mode to monitor my heart-rate and calories burned. I did some kettle-bell swings, watched my heart-rate rise, and then saw a jump in the calories shortly thereafter. It works!

3. Warm up properly to get full range of motion and complete proper form

What if I told you that you may be cheating yourself and your calorie burn by going into your workouts cold and only hitting half or three-quarters of the range you need to hit. Before every workout, cardio or other, you want to do a dynamic warm-up. I’ve talked a lot about those before, and basically a dynamic warm-up means a moving stretch, which has you moving in the way that you will soon be exercising. For weighted squats, a dynamic warm-up would be bodyweight squats. For lateral lunges, a dynamic warm-up would be side kicks, etc. In addition, you want to do some mobility work and foam rolling to get your muscles loose and your body ready to go so that your first rep or first step on the treadmill is your best.

4. Focus on the movement at hand

Did you know that if you think about engaging the proper muscles during any exercise, you may work them more? For instance, when you are doing the stepper machine, think about pushing through the balls of your feet, flexing your calves and using your butt to stand up to the next step. And when you are doing a bicep curl in a BODYPUMP class, think about keeping your elbows back under your shoulders and picture your upper-arms clenching and pulling the bar up toward your chest. Basically, if you zone out during your workout and just go through the motions, you’re short-changing your calorie burn. Think, focus and practice presence in your workouts.

5. Hydrate and properly fuel before your session

There are a lot of people out there who absolutely swear by “fasted cardio” or working out without eating in the morning, because they think it will help you to burn fat. And although I agree with the use of fasted cardio in some situations, I also know that if you eat properly before your workout, you will have MORE energy to give to everything that you do in the gym that day. That means, grabbing a healthy snack (carbs/fat/protein) about 30 minutes to an hour before your sweat session, and you’ll have more in the tank for pushing. While you may be thinking, but then you have to burn off the calories of the snack — I disagree. That snack is fueling you to get FITTER, so it’s okay if you take in calories before you work out. You’ll reap the benefits of a tough sweat session all day with something called the “after-burn,” in which you keep burning about 24 hours after your session, if you pushed it hard enough.

6. Lift weights

This is a no-brainer, but if you read A Lady Goes West, you know that I think that everyone should lift weights in some form. Even if you only have resistance bands at home, that will do for adding some weight to your movements. Building bigger muscles means that you burn more calories all day, as well as in your next workout.

And there you go! Remember, nothing beats organic movement during the day, like taking walks, taking the stairs and staying hydrated to keep your body in calorie burning mode. But if you want to power up your workouts, I hope these tips will help.

Now let’s get back to the TomTom® watch …

The TomTom® Adventurer Watch

Quite honestly, I only scratched the surface as far as functionality goes for this watch, because it has multiple sport modes. It’s designed for the outdoor explorer and fitness enthusiast and can track your elevation, your GPS and even your hiking route, if you go on a big trail run or climb. It also has a built-in music player which holds up to 500 songs with Bluetooth headphones; a heart-rate monitor without the use of a chest strap; an automatic sleep monitor, which clocks your time snoozing without you having to tell it to start; a step counter; an alarm; a stopwatch and so much more — and most of the stats will show up on TomTom® MySports app on your phone or with more detail on your computer via the TomTom® MySports site. And let’s not forget that the watch is water resistant and overall just looks cool. It’s built to withstand the outdoors, so it can definitely withstand a lot of sweat and elements. I wear it every day, and happen to love the pop of the orange strap with any outfit, casual or active. And like I said, wearing it has definitely made me take a few more walks outside during the day to get in my steps!

Wearing the TomTom Adventurer Outdoor watch by A Lady Goes West

Dave and I were originally supposed to go skiing this snow season in Tahoe, and I was super excited to try out the watch then, but we aren’t going to make that trip happen after all (in exchange for a different awesome trip, I’ll tell you about soon), but I know this watch would have been quite useful on the slopes! And sadly, all of the rain in the Bay Area has made it quite difficult for me to get out there and hike to try out the altitude and GPS features of the watch, but once the sun comes out, we’re definitely heading to Mt. Diablo in the East Bay — and let’s see how many calories I can burn on a hike there!

Thanks to the TomTom® folks for letting me be one of the first people to test out this new product. If you want to find out more information on TomTom® or any of its products, head to the website or follow the brand on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

How to #burn more calories during your next workout by blogger @apstyle … Click To Tweet

Questions of the day

What’s one place you’d want to visit to try out a TomTom® Adventurer watch outdoors?

What’s your favorite cardio exercise?



    1. Hi Heather! Yup, making the most of a short session is all about mixing in the cardio and weights for sure. I think you’ll start to cherish the “nap time” workout too heheh!

  1. This month I was treated to 4 OrangeTheory classes and I was so much more motivated when I could see my stats and get those splat points. I’ve used the monitor in spin classes and enjoyed it. It makes me a bit sad when I use it at the gym because those are usually my weight lifting sessions and my heart rate doesn’t jump as much (i.e. less splat points). So, I need to remember to do cardio bursts with my weight sessions.

    Glad you’re getting sponsored posts! I know it keeps the blog going and with your hard work, you deserve it!

    1. Hi India! Oh you are too sweet! And doing slower weightlifting moves does NOT give you a big jump on the heart-rate monitor, even though it’s so good for you, and eventually those muscles you are building will burn more calories, so definitely helps to add some cardio. In fact, I did kettle-bell swings in between my weights circuit just today. Nice work on doing four OTF classes this month! 🙂 Will you go back??

      1. I loved OTF! Loved it. It’s pricey, but I’m thinking of buying a 10-pack and using one a month, just to remind me how hard I can really workout. As a follow-up to this post, I’d totally love a workout example of how you incorporated weights & cardio w weights. You gave a few examples in this post, but I think it’s important.

        Really love your blog. You write informative posts that are always encouraging and/or helpful.

        1. Hi India! I can do that post! Thank you for the suggestion and idea. And I think that OTF is a great workout, but agree it is pricey. If you can get the time to do it, go for it! 🙂

    1. Hi Megan! That’s okay, as long as you know that you’re working hard. And that’s good that you mix in some cardio with your weights to up the burn and make the most of your time. 🙂

  2. I am in the market for a new GPS watch–I will have to check out the new TomToms! I always encourage my clients to try to add in incline and DON”T TOUCH THOSE HANDLES on the treadmill!

    1. I know, I know! People immediately reach for the handles when the incline goes up, and that puts them in a weird position. Sometimes I want to tell people at the gym who I don’t know to let go … but that wouldn’t really be appropriate heheh. 🙂 Glad you are spreading the good work, Susie!

  3. I invested in a Garmin Forerunner last Summer and I love that it tracks my steps as well as how hard I am working out in my workouts. I always try and “beat” my burn from the day before 😉
    I love that the Tomtom can store music- that is awesome!!

    1. Hi Jen! I know, so cool that music is stored on the TomTom watch. 🙂 And I love to hear that you are trying to beat your calorie burn each day — that is the exact reason why tracking and wearing a monitor is beneficial! 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  4. Love this post!!! I never think about the incline piece, but it makes so much sense. I also completely agree with fueling before a workout, with a little carb in the system I can push much harder! I had a trainer tell me recently that she sees fasted cardio as a tool for if one ever finds themselves in need of dramatic weight-loss and that it’s not advantageous to get your body used to it during maintenance….interesting take.

    1. Hi Jill! Yes, fuel for a good workout is super important. And I was very interested in fasted cardio for a while, but when you really think about it – it’s ALWAYS better to do a BETTER workout than to do one hungry, because it may help you burn more fat. Throughout the rest of the day, you get more of a benefit from a better workout than a less-intense one with no food. So yes, the trainer you spoke to is right. 🙂 Here’s for grabbing a bite before you sweat.

  5. On leg days I love to incorporate lots of plyos for HIIT intervals and on upper body days, kickboxing is the perfect was to mix in some moves that rev your heart rate and double up on those muscles. Sometimes during my workouts I add in extra bonus moves just for…errr…fun 😉 that I know will really burn. You know you’re crazing when you crave sore muscles and sweat, haha.


    1. Hi Meah! Those are some good combos your working on for your workouts, lady! And I TOTALLY love sore muscles too, but it doesn’t happen all the time. Thanks for saying hi, friend!! 🙂

  6. I have HR Fitbit, but don’t love it, this watch sounds amazing! I love that our development has a community gym and most of the time I have it to myself so I can easily do treadmill sprints, hop off and do some weight training and go back and forth. Those type of workouts also go by so fast!

    And skiing in Tahoe sounds so amazing, so can’t wait to hear where you’re going instead!

    1. Hi Patricia! For nearly all of my post-college life living in apartments I had a community gym, and this is the first time I don’t. I know what you mean about having it for yourself, and I LOVEDDDDD that. It’s the perfect place to do crazy workouts on an off the cardio machines hehe. Enjoy that, lady! 🙂

  7. Sounds like such a fun, new toy!

    I constantly wonder how many calories I’m burning on the slopes – living in CO, we pretty much only work out outdoors and skiing is our primary form of cardio through mid-April. I’ll definite have to check this out!

    And I 100% agree with you on eating right prior to a work out and properly warming up. I see so many people skipping those steps, no matter what kind of workout we are getting into!

    Thanks for sharing!
    XO, Jessica

    1. Hi Jessica! Skiing is an amazing full-body workout, and I totally wish I knew how to do it and did it regularly haha. How awesome you’re right in the heart of it. I bet you fuel up properly. 🙂 One day you need to wear a heart-rate monitor to see how much you burned!

  8. Great tips! I’ve done the Kayla Itsines workouts, and while I find them pretty miserable, they’ve been great at helping me break through fitness plateaus and learning how to incorporate cardio bursts (ugh, burpees) between strength moves.

    1. That’s awesome, Rachel! I’ve actually never tried the Kayla workouts, but have seem some samples. I like that she adds in a lot of burpees and bodyweight bursts. It’s good for yoU!

  9. First of all, it’s incredibly awesome how green California is; I’m just so thankful for all the moisture y’all are getting. Praying that you’ll be safe too during those big storms.

    And second of all, I love all of these tips. I used to really ‘despise’ weight lifting. Cue: God humbled me, because I realized how much of a benefit it has and how amazing it can be for those days you are not feeling a cardio workout but you still want to do a fun workout.

    1. Hi Emily! Yes, California is doing well right now because of all the rain we’ve had lately. And I’m so glad to hear that you’ve learned to know how much we all need the weights. It will grow on you! 🙂

  10. Great article, and thanks for the reminders. I have gotten a tad stale with my workouts and demotivated with a plateau in my progress. I’ll be using your tips from today onward. Love the watch!

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